President Donald Trump once boasted that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and that his supporters wouldn't abandon him. While that could be true, it doesn't appear to apply across the board to all of Trump's statements.
Columnist Joel Mathis, writing for The Week, explained, "Trump's undoing might come about because he has inverted the Fifth Avenue scenario: He has urged his supporters to protect their health by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The former president is trying to save the lives of the people who love him — and that has confused and enraged them."
Outrage has poured out of MAGA world after Trump told supporters at a rally that he was vaccinated and boosted. But it got worse when Trump spoke to far-right political personality Candace Owens who asked him about the vaccine.
"Look, the results of the vaccine are very good, and if you do get it, it's a very minor form," Trump said in the interview. "People aren't dying when they take the vaccine."
The aftermath has become a storm of far-right Trump supporters either questioning his sanity or inventing a conspiracy theory to justify the troubling news from their favorite president.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has cheered, "It may be one of the few things he and I agree on." Mathis argues that Trump was "apparently heartened by this support, and he doubled down on his vaccine support."
First, Owens tried to make excuses, saying that he is old and out of touch.
"People oftentimes forget, like, how old Trump is," she said on Instagram. "Like, they came from a time before TV, before internet, before being able to conduct their independent research."
Alex Jones argued that Trump was either "completely ignorant" or "the most evil man who has ever lived to push this toxic poison on the public and to attack your constituents when they simply try to save their lives and the lives of others."
Mathis cited far-right blogger Mike Cernovich who accused Trump of kowtowing to the "elites" to "impress people who don't like him."
"Trump has made a political career out of stretching the Overton Window to its breaking point," explained Mathis. "It was the source of his appeal to MAGA Republicans and the reason most everybody else disliked him. It's also why demagogic loudmouths like him usually burn out: Their shtick loses its novelty, and the crowd wanders off, either bored and ready for something less intense, or numbed to the usual outrages and needing ever-higher doses of vitriol to maintain their enthusiasm. With his new vaccine pitch, it's possible Trump is finally becoming a victim of the second dynamic."
The incident comes at a time when Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is being considered as a possible 2024 candidate. Unlike Trump, DeSantis has never faltered in his COVID-19 conspiracy theories and denialism.